Thursday, February 21, 2013

You have 45 seconds to judge me....

Not really, but that's what today's lesson is about. Making snap judgements based on things we have read or have seen on the internet and using our eyes to judge people, instead of getting to know them.

This lesson has several activities and stopping points for discussion and I have done it with 3rd- 6th grade, but you could easily do it with middle school and yes I would do it with high school.

First, I like the students to have an open discussion so I remind them of our socratic seminar rules.

Then using the smart board I showed them this pup and asked:

I let the students openly share their judgements about the dog and have discussion about what they would do and think if they saw him at the park, etc.

Then I let them meet Jack Frost, the after of the dog above!
Read more about this sweet boy and his journey here:

After we discussed first impressions I let the students play the shoe detective game. I do this game almost every year so you can read about it more here:

The game is very easy and fun, but best of all your teachers will love you because it ties in critical reading and thinking skills such as using schema and evidence to create an inference.

Basically you gather three shoes (from family, friends, and co-workers) and ask the students to make inferences based on evidence (or in most cases their initial judgements).
One of my students guess that my Louboutin's were owned by a Japanese teenager.

After the game we reveal the owner of the shoe and continue the discussion of how judgements can lead to troubling assumptions. 

Next, we play the "Find the Pit" game, 

This is a great game because it combines many important points, including the fact that many people and animals look alike but come from cultures and histories that have many differences and similarities. Additionally it ties in the lesson of what we read on the internet or see on the news isn't always true. Sometimes just because it walks like a duck and you say it's a duck, doesn't make it a duck- it makes it a Rottweiler (just kidding.)

As a follow up lesson I would highly recommend this lesson from "A Teacher's Lounge." I think it's great for a Socratic seminar.

Of course this lesson always touches home with me because I have a pitbull. I have found that I get two reactions when people learn this 1) sheer horror- how could I? They are mean and just look at those jaws.  2) I love pits, they are so misunderstood and get such a bad rap.
Most of the time the people who respond with #1 have never met and pit because if they have they would answer with #2.

To be misunderstood must be the most frustrating feeling in the world, but to not be able to stand up for yourself, have a voice, that is the most horrible tragedy. This week they were working in our building and a maintenance man saw a picture of my baby and so of course we talked pits. He shared that he had a pit that was the best dog in the world, but they were forced to give it up when they moved into an apartment. I have said it before and I'll say it again, if we could get insurance companies to do away with their unfair discrimination clauses, then housing companies would have no reason to have breed restrictions, and so many dogs would find love.  This is what we must fight for- equality!

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