Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Butter Battle Book by Dr. Seuss

This lesson was an easy one for several reasons. The first is because the teacher came to me with a book and said, "Would you read this to my class?" The second is because she knew exactly what she wanted me to do with it and basically all I had to do was show up! :)

The AP World History classes where beginning a unit on Imperialism and Nationalism heading into the two World Wars. Mrs. Hutchison wanted me to read The Butter Battle Book and talk about nationalism with the students. I've been sick the last two weeks, so I actually purchased the book app for my iPad and used the narrator to read the book aloud to the students via AirServer. This was a great help, not only for my voice, but also for the pesky vocabulary Dr. Seuss likes to use in his books!

Mrs. Hutchison started the discussion by reminding students of what Imperialism is and how it works and then giving them a definition of nationalism. I showed them a book I have in the library, Dr. Seuss Goes to War: the World War II Editorial Cartoons of Theodore Seuss Geisel, and discussed what political cartoons are used for, why they are effective and what has happened recently in the news concerning a political cartoon.

I then played the book app and let the students follow along as it read the story to them. The story doesn't really "end." It just stops in the middle of the story. 

First we talked about Dr. Seuss' other stories, how they usually have a moral or lesson to learn. I asked how many had read Green Eggs and Ham and what that story teaches us. The students agreed that Green Eggs and Ham teaches us to try things before we say we don't like them. Then we talked about the moral to the Butter book. Did it have one? Why or why not? What did they think Dr. Seuss was trying to say by writing the book? We talked about what was happening in the world during the writing of the book and how it showed nationalism through its content. I ended by sharing my experiences from traveling abroad and talking about other countries, especially the Czech Republic, and how other countries show patriotism and nationalism.

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