Thursday, February 20, 2014

Alfred Nobel AND John F. Kennedy

As in my previous post for English Language Learners, I brought in two more books to help them learn about historical people they could use in their writings. Each lesson was a little different in the content, but the framework stayed the same...I read aloud, the students watched the teacher model note-taking on important information while taking their own notes, we discussed the book and then they wrote down the characteristic and qualities the person displayed in the story.

Alfred Nobel: The Man Behind the Peace Prize by Kathy-Jo Wargin is a beautifully illustrated story (by Zachary Pullen) about Nobel's dynamite invention and how/why he established the Peace Prize.  I gave each student a small color photo of the Peace Prize to paste in their writing journals.

After the reading, I shared a QR code with the students that took them to the Nobel Prize website where we learned about the different types of medals and recipients over the years. We then took the quiz about Alfred Nobel to see if our little picture book had given us enough information to really know who he was. With much discussion and inferencing, the students were able to get all but three of the questions correct even though most of the information was not blatantly written within the book. It was rewarding to hear the students work out the answers to the questions. Even when they were wrong, their arguments were sound based on the little knowledge we had.

The next book we read was Jack's Path to Courage: The Life of John F. Kennedy (which I've mentioned before). The difference with this class lesson was the focus on his character and also the prior knowledge the students had in reference to JFK. One of the students posed the question of why he was assassinated, so we talked about the theories and about Oswald for a few minutes. 

One of the quotes in the book is from JFK's television speech asking Congress to enact laws to help make everyone in the United States free during the struggle of the Civil Rights Movement. After the reading, we were able to show the students the exact footage from our NBC Learn
subscription and give them a printed transcript of the President's speech. What we all found interesting and discussed after the video was this quote:

"Therefore I am asking for your help in making it easier for us to move ahead and provide the kind of equality of treatment, which we would want ourselves. To give a chance for every child to be educated to the limit of his talents. As I've said before not every child has an equal talent or an equal ability or equal motivation. But they should have the equal right to develop their talent, and their ability and their motivation to make something of themselves." -- JFK June 11, 1963

It would do us all well to remember these words and act accordingly.

"President Kennedy Addresses the Nation on Civil Rights." NBC News. NBCUniversal Media. 11 June 1963. NBC Learn. Web. 22 June 2013.

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