Standard 1: Inquire, think critically, and gain knowledge
1.1.1: Follow an inquiry-based process in seeking knowledge in curricular subjects and make real-world connection for using this process in own life.
1.1.3: Develop and refine a range of questions to frame the search for a new understanding
Standard 3: Share knowledge and participate ethically and productively as members of our democratic society
3.1.3: Use writing and speaking skills to communicate new understandings effectively
3.1.5: Connect learning to community issues
3.3.2: Respect the differing interests and experiences of others, and seek a variety of viewpoints
3.3.3: Use knowledge and information skills and dispositions to engage in public conversation and debate around issues of common concern
3.3.7: Respect the principals of intellectual freedom
During the First Lesson Students will:
- Engage in a conversation about extending basic rights to all people including identifying groups that are under-represented and factors that could help bring about change to create communities that uphold basic principals of democracy and meet the needs and wants of the greatest number of people
- Make connections between the upcoming election and the creativity and active participation that are required to establish communities, organizations, and governments that answer to the desires and wants of the common people
- Engage in a conversation abut public process and access to "power for the people" and the creativity and energy required of individuals and groups within a democracy
- Identify what they think are the most important issues affecting the quality of their lives and their future as related to the upcoming presidential election
- Before Lesson One: Ask the students to read from the following. See Ancillary Materials for complete citations.
- The Declaration of Independence
- The Preamble to the U.S. Constitution
- The Bill of Rights
- The 1848 Declaration of Women’s Rights (a description) and Frederick Douglass’ July 4, 1852 speech, "What to the Slave, is the Fourth of July?" (an overview)
- Springboards for Lesson One: Generate conversation with definitions and quotes (William Kittredge, Jim Hightower, Thurgood Marshall, Nelson Mandela, John F. Kennedy). See Ancillary Materials for background and details.
- Class Discussion: See Ancillary Materials for background and details.
- The Common Good: Ask students how they would define "Populism" and ask them how they imagine the "common good."
- Heroes and Heroines: Generate a lively discussion about who the students view as visionary leaders and why.
- Student experience of belonging; who are "the people"?
- Discussion of quotes cited
- In-Class Writing Activities:See Ancillary Materials for background and details.
- A speech for the new President
- The student's own Declaration of Independence or Bill of Rights
- Response to Jim Hightower's quote
- Further Reading:See Ancillary Materials for topics
The lesson plans offered here have been written by Merna Hecht. They were originally written to support the Poet Populist Program—Seattle. Visit the Poet Populist website: http://www.poetpopulist.org. Merna is a storyteller, poet, and arts and literacy educator. She currently is working on a joint project with Voices, Bread for the Journey and the Institute of Poetic Medicine. Merna has been teaching creative writing and storytelling since 1978 when she was a poet in the schools in rural Idaho. She is a well known Pacific Northwest storyteller and a 1999 recipient of a National Storytelling Network Community Service Award.