Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Shocked and appalled, once again

Last week I decided to change things up a bit in my classroom.  I am sick and tired of hearing kids call each other Racist or Bigot, and then hurl racial slurs themselves.  They have no idea what some of those terms mean to folks older, and when you get down to it, they are not even using the terms correctly in the first place, which bothers me greatly, too.

So we spent a week on Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement.  That was when I noticed something that was shocking and truly bothersome.  The students all knew who MLK was, most had heard of Rosa Parks, but none knew Malcom X, or Mother Theresa, they all know Michael Jackson and Michael Jordon, but could not say why they knew Benjamin Franklin.  They had heard of Thomas Jefferson, but not Thomas Hooker, or Thomas Paine.

I thought we had a little work to do... so I devised a plan, one that I hope to use, going forward, with all my classes.  If you are a teacher and you like this idea, please feel free to steal it and make it your own!  What I am doing is this:  I am building a list.  The list is by no means comprehensive in nature, and I hope it never stops growing.  Every week, each student will pick 1 person from that list, and answer 5 questions about that person: When did they live, Where are they from, What did they do, Why should we care, and What impact did their actions have on society.  They each will give a 2 minute presentation on their Famous Person.  My goal is two fold.. they will meet those all important Content Standards in research, historical figures, and speaking in public, and hopefully have a greater sense of the world.  Perhaps my goals are lofty, too lofty for a group of middle school special ed kids, but hopefully not.

I asked some of my students for help compiling the list.  It started out with about 80 names and now has over 180!!  I am going to attempt to post the list here, and if you can think of folks we have left off, please let me know! (Note, please, very few entertainers, musicians made the list for a reason.  Absolutely no athletes.)

Adolf Hitler       Al Gore     Albert Einstein     Alexander Graham Bell      Alexander the Great 
Alfred Nobel       Amelia Earheart         Andrew Carnegie     Andy Warhol       Anne Frank   
Annie Oakley       Annie Sullivan         Anwar Sadat    Aristotle     Attila the Hun    Ayatollah Khomeini    Barry Goldwater     Ben Franklin    Ben Verene    Benito Mussilini    Betsy Ross   Bill Gates   
Bing Crosby    Bishop Desmond Tutu    Bob Hope     Bobby Kennedy    Booker "T" Washington    Buddah    Buffalo Soldiers    Buzz Aldrin    Carl Jung    Ceasar Chavez    Charles Darwin
Charles Manson    Christa MacAuliffe    Chuck Yeager    Cleopatra    Confucius   Dali Lama  
 Dmitri Ivanovich Mendeleyev       Dr. Ruth Simmons      Duke Ellington   E. B White    Easy Company"    Ed Sullivan    Edgar Cayce    Eleanor Roosevelt    Eli Whitney    Elizabeth Blackwell  
 Elizabeth Cady Stanton    Emmet Till    Eunice Kennedy Shriver    Fidel Castro    Florence Nightingale    Frank Sinatra    Frank Zamboni    Fredrick Douglass    Galileo    Genghis Khan   
George Washington Carver      Georgia O'Keeffe    Geronimo    Ghandi   Gloria Steinem    Golda Meir   Hannibal      Harriet Beecher Stowe     Harry Belefonte    Harry Houdini    Hellen Keller
Henry Ford    Herbert Hoover    Hideki Tojo     Hiro Hito     Hmong     Idi Amin    Imelda Marcos
Indira Ghandi    J. Edgar Hoover    J. Robert Oppenheimer    Jack the Ripper   Jacqueline Kennedy
James Earl Ray    Jane Addams    Jim Crow     Joan of Arc     Johan Sebastian Bach
John D Rockefeller    John F. Kennedy   John Hancock    John Muir    John Wilkes Booth
Johnny "Appleseed"Chapman    Johnny Carson    Jonas Salk      Joseph Stalin   Julius Ceasar
Karl Marx    Laura Ingalls Wilder      Lee Harvey Olswold    Leonardo DiVinci
Lief Erickson    Louis Armstrong      Louis Farrakhan     Louissa May Alcott
Ludvig Von Beethoven     Madame Curie    Malcom X    Mao Tse Tung    Marc Antony
Marco Polo     Margaret Thatcher      Marie Antoinette      Mark Twain      Martin Luther
Martin Luther King, JR    Mary Queen of Scots     Mary Todd Lincoln    Medgar Evers
Million Man March"      Moses      Mother Theresa      Napoleon Boneparte     Neil Armstrong
Nelson Mandela      Nero Ceasar Agustus      Noah Porter      Noah Webster      Orville & Wilbur Wright
Oskar Schindler     Pablo Picasso     Pancho Villa     Patrick Henry     Patty Hearst    Paul Revere
Percy Shelley    Pierre-August Renoir    Plato    Pol Pot      Princess Diana Spencer
Queen Elizabeth I      Queen Victoria     Raymond Albert Kroc      Richard Nixon
Robert E Lee      Ruth Bader Ginsburg      Sacajewea      Saddam Huessein      Sally Hemmings
Sally Kristen Ride    Salvador Dali      Samuel Adams      Samuel de Champlain
Sandra Day O'Connor      Shirley Chisolm      Sigmund Freud      Sir Alexander Flemming
Sir Issac Newton     Sirhan Sirhan    Sojourner Truth    Sonia Sotomayor    Spartacus
Steve Jobs    Susan B. Anthony    Ted Bundy    The Brother's Grimm    The Reverend Moon
Theodore Roosevelt    Thomas Edison     Thomas Hooker    Thomas Paine    Thurgood Marshall
Toni Morrison   Tony Blair   Tuskagee Airmen   Typhoid Mary   Uylesses S. Grant
Vincent Van Goh   Vladimir Lenin    W. E. B. DuBois     Walter Cronkite
William Faulkner      Winston Churchill     Woodward & Bernstien


Buffalo Soldier 9 said...

Keep telling that history; read some great military history.

How do you keep a people down? ‘Never' let them 'know' their history.

The 7th Cavalry got their butts in a sling again after the Little Big Horn Massacre, fourteen years later, the day after the Wounded Knee Massacre. If it wasn't for the 9th Cavalry Buffalo Soldiers, there would of been a second massacre of the 7th Cavalry. Read the novel, “Rescue at Pine Ridge”, and visit website http://www.rescueatpineridge.com

Anonymous said...

I can understand your wanting to leave off athletes, but can you honestly leave off Jackie Robinson?

depstein38 said...

You've got Beethoven, but no Bach and no Mozart? I don't know about that...