The year is 2015 and Go Daddy pulled their ad because it was too controversial:
Thursday, February 15, 2024
Monday, February 12, 2024
For a limited time: FREE RESOURCE
One of my college professors absolutely loved the book Cultural Literacy by E. D. Hirsh, Jr. The book was a proponent for rote memorization, but whether or not you like that concept, the other part of it has been useful to me in my teaching career.
Hirsh asserts that there are certain things all Americans are aware of just by being immersed in American culture. For example, ask any American what McDonald's is, and you can pretty much guarantee that they will be able to answer with at least some degree of competency. Same goes for Michael Jordan. While the person may not know any details about Jordan's career, they should know that he is an athlete of some kind. Hirsh believes that these are the things that help to make up American culture.
He goes on to list several things that he feels every American should know, from history to science to music to sports to literature. Some of those things I am very much aware of and others... well, not so much.
These worksheets are assignments that probe students' knowledge of well-known sayings in American culture, such as "Putting your nose to the grindstone" and "Nothing breeds success like success." It is fun to do these together, as a game, or as a research assignment. These are phrases that come up in literature, writing, and day to day life, so it is as useful for students to know as are common allusions.
Each worksheet has 30 sayings on it, a chance for students to explain two of them, and a bonus question. Answer keys are provided. All worksheets are on Google docs so can be edited by making a copy of it for your own.
I am introducing this to the Extreme English Teacher store for free for a limited time. I only ask that you enjoy it and PLEASE LEAVE A REVIEW. You would not believe how much reviews are helpful to TPT store owners.
You can get it here: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/XET-Cultural-Literacy-Sayings-11073448
Wednesday, February 7, 2024
This is my second year doing this and I think I have honed it down to a good 45 minutes to hour-long discussion lesson.
I got the idea/inspiration from a podcast titled Alarmist. The format of the show is to pick an event in history, say the sinking of the Titanic, the assassination of JFK, the Donner Party, the Superbowl XXXVIII halftime controversy, and many others like it. They discuss the event and then start listing (well, they say they are listing it on a board - I'm just an audio listener so I will take them at their word) all the people and traditions and beliefs and anything else that is a factor. The patriarchy is a common one that makes its way on their list. Once their board is full, they start eliminating or combining until they have three. One gets a warning, one gets a slap on the wrist, and the other goes to Alarmist jail.
So I began thinking - this would be awesome to use in a classroom discussion. So I tried it out last year with my AP kids on who is to blame for Myrtle's death in The Great Gatsby. It worked ok, but not with the flair I wanted. I feel that maybe squashed some of the discussion by wanting to list everything first and then talk about it. This year I did things a little differently. For one, I didn't read Gatsby this year, so I chose The Lord of the Flies. Our mission was to decide who was to blame for Piggy's death.
It started with this:
The students were given some time to discuss and think about all the contributing factors. Once I felt they were ready for the challenge, we started taking suspects. This time, I let each suspect be defended or argued before we moved to a new subject. That was the key to success. After a LONG discussion of students getting very heated (but in a good way), the board was packed. At that point, we marked out some suspects (Isaac Newton was argued for discovering gravity, but we released him from being a person of interest), we combined some suspects into others (Piggy's Auntie and parents were combined and then moved under the umbrella of Piggy), until we finally narrowed it down to our three main contenders: Roger, Human Nature, and Piggy.
I did it again with the next class and they had the warning going to Roger, the slap on the wrist going to Piggy, and Jack going to AP jail.
This format could be used with almost any book. Who's to blame for Macbeth's violent run? Heathcliff's atrocities? the hanging of Justine Moritz? the suicide of John the Savage? You get the point! And the amount of prep work for you is low - assuming you did your job earlier to get your kids ready for deep thinking. Since there is a huge argument component, this works for AP Lang just as well.
It was so much fun! They really reached deep and even the silly suspects (the color red, for instance) were vehemently fought for by their arresting officers. How this would work in a lower level class, I am not sure. I can only vouch for this in an AP class setting. Try it and let me know how it worked in your class!
Friday, February 2, 2024
Heads up! If you use TPT, there is a sale coming Feb. 6 and 7. Get up to 25% sitewide.
Use it for anything you need, but I would of course love it if you checked out my store during this time:
And remember, if you find anything on TPT (for any store, not just mine) that you thought was helpful, the best thing you can do for that seller is to leave a positive review. It helps so much! I know the process is annoying because have to wait a day and it is easy to forget, but coming back to review helps others find and trust that resource.