Sunday, October 7, 2007

Takaki Chapter 6 and Kinesthetic Instruction

It was interesting to read this chapter with an eye toward developing a Kinesthetic lesson for the group. I must admit to having a bunch of different ideas including having someone teach Irish Step Dancing or some other Irish dance, having the students make Irish Soda Bread or some other food that related to Ireland, working with some of the music collections to highlight some of the songs (many found on song sheets) that were anti-Irish workers such as the different versions of No Irish Need Apply, (here is another version), or the Irish Refugee or have the students develop a song, performance or other presentation relating to what they read in the chapter. I also considered having the students do a collage using images and documents from the American Memory collections that showed images of Irish, Chinese and African-Americans from the time in question.

As I continued to think about this I realized that the lesson should not only focus on the experience of the Irish but also relate in some way to the experience of the Chinese and to African-Americans as they dealt with employment and other issues in the late 19th and early 20th century. I decided that I would have the students do Found Poetry using the American Life History collection of oral histories done during the Depression. Many of these oral histories explore immigration stories of the participants or experiences living in the late 19th and early 20th century. Information on how to do Found Poetry can be found in this lesson on Enhancing the Study of American Memory by using poetry, the teacher primary source set on found poetry or from this lesson found in the Song of America Teachers Institute. Some of the possible life histories I might use include Mysterious Chinese Tunnels, Early Reminiscences- Chinese, Odd Jobs Man , Packinghouse Workers, Unions and Strikes, Jim Cole, Twenty Centuries , Canyon City Folkways, I Am a Negro and Something Better for My Boy .

As these items are often seven or eight pages in length I would choose a paragraph or two from each of these items to use for Found Poetry so that the students wouldn't be overwhelmed by a large number of words. I would again work with the English teacher to ask in the class period before if there could be a discussion of what poetry is and what makes a poem a poem. Found Poetry can be used to encourage students to look at the material in a different way and to find the meaning of a topic through a poem they create. It also allows them to work with glue, scissors and paper and to be as creative as they want to be. I have seen someone dance her poem, seen beautiful artwork created based on Found Poetry assignments and also seen students get a better understanding of a topic through creating Found Poetry out of a primary source item.

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