One of our class jobs this trimester has been to write a weekly post for the 7/8 CREW blog. Unfortunately we had difficulty with this challenge, and as a result we haven't been posting regularly enough for this 7/8 CREW blog to be effective. It was a combination of short notice, poor teacher oversight, and the fact that we are always busy. Therefore I have decided to take back over the responsibility of blogging for our CREW. I do encourage students to follow, and I encourage them to post questions and comments.
Our 2nd trimester expedition was called Songs of Change, but today I am officially changing it to Power of the People. Why? Our expedition is into the Vietnam War, the power of public opinion, and how we can alter public opinion. The Vietnam War was a major turning point in our American History. Music, Art, Television, Cinema and print media dramatically changed the political landscape of our Nation. After decades of Cold War, a generation motivated by music and art changed the public opinion on our Foreign Policies. Initially we were only going to examine music and musicians, but we have discovered through research the power of news anchor Walter Cronkite, boxer Muhammad Ali, Martin Luther King Jr., photographers, artist like Bob Masse, and writers.
On the very first day of our expedition, we began with a mystery gallery walk. I placed 60 pictures of musicians, military efforts of the Vietnam War, Presidents of the time, and major protests like the Human Be In and Woodstock. Students were asked to walk around silently recording questions and comments about the pictures into their expedition journals. At the same time I played songs about the Vietnam War from Janis Joplin, CCR, Bob Dylan, Beatles, the Animals, and Jefferson Airplane. I asked them to come to school the next day in the costume of the time period they thought we would be studying.
During our Building Background Knowledge, we began with a common text/ song. Country Joe and the Fish who sang I'm A Fixin To Die Rag Thyme. We first listened to it a few times, and discussed how it was sort of a silly song but with dark lyrics. We then examined the lyrics and asked questions. Students were asked to write a letter to a friend, pretend that they were a teenager in 1968, and describe their thoughts and feelings about the lyrics. After the common text, students were given experts texts/songs from other influential artist of the 60's. They examined the texts, wrote their fictional letters, and we then shared them as a whole class.
Over the last few weeks, we have learned about the foreign policies that led us into the Vietnam War, the Truman Doctrine of 1947, the Domino Theory of 1954, and the Tonkin Gulf Resolution. Students created a timeline of major events between 1945 (The end of WWII) and 1975. We have looked at the geography of Indochina, read in depth on major events like the Tet Offensive, Operation Rolling Thunder, and the My Lai Massacre.
After gaining a context of the war itself, we began to consider the change of public support for the war between the years 1965 and 1970. One of the most influential people in America at the time was Walter Cronkite and his famous "We are mired in Stalemate" broadcast of 1968. This past week, we have discussed different kinds of protesting and their effectiveness. Our next step will be to examine major protests during this time period.
On top of all that, students are beginning a new Literature Circle this week. They have their assignments, have picked their groups, begun to establish a reading schedule, and they have chosen their books. Their final literature report will have a vocabulary log, chapter summaries, and an essay comparing themselves to a main character in the story.
We also got a lot of snow this week!!!